Why I left social media

Well, I didn’t totally leave social media. I left Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I’m still on LinkedIn and YouTube, and Telegram is quasi-social media, but these latter platforms don’t have the problems plaguing the other ones. Since people have asked me why I’m leaving, here’s a concise blog post explaining it.

1. Addictive

If you’re not addicted to social media, good for you. I was addicted, so I cut off the supply.

2. Predatory

It’s not exactly novel to say that social media culture sucks. A close friend would sometimes post stuff that was so ridiculous that I had to call him and ask him, “Did you really mean that?” Of course he’d say, “No, not really, what I meant was…” and we’d have a good conversation and come away understanding each other better than ever. Good conversations like these are not had on social media.

(One counter-example to this was when I ran a Facebook Group called Point N Click Adventure Fans Unite, which was very successful. The culture was productive and non-inflammatory, partially by virtue of the subject matter selecting for non-inflammatory people, partially by a ‘hands-off’ speech policy. Incidents were infrequent, maybe 5 per year in a group of ~10,000 members. I banned maybe 2 people.)

On the same token, social media algorithms filters what information goes downstream to your followers. If you earned 500,000 followers posting memes, and now you want to use your audience to spread awareness about animal abuse, the algorithm will not bridge that content to your followers, even if you see some novel connection between the two. I spent years building an audience around action and stunts. Then I became interested in the anthropology of violence and media, but the algorithm either couldn’t bridge action with anthropology, or my followers didn’t care. There was no way to tell whether I needed to cater the data better to my audience (not censorship), or the algorithm considered this stuff “taboo” (censorship).

All of this is in service of selling ads to you. The customers on Social Media are the people who pay to run ads. You’re a metric, and you’re subject to the algorithm. If you’re in the business of creating content for an audience, you need a more direct communication line to your customers. Social media appears to be this communication line, but it’s almost Autistic in its focus. Any attempt to change course will be met with dead silence.

People love to complain about tech censorship like this, but complaining is for wimps. So I left. Now I don’t complain.

3. Ineffective

Some people get contracts and jobs through social media. In traditional stunts, Facebook was the best platform for this, and Instagram second. Since leaving the traditional stunt world in 2018, I didn’t get a single contract from Facebook or Instagram. Twitter is good for networking with artists to get small motion capture jobs, but 99% of my work has come from in-person events, word of mouth, sharing YouTube videos, and LinkedIn messaging.

Did you dump any social media platforms? Why? Join the conversation on my Telegram channel at t.me/ericjacobus.